Did you know that 70,000 pedestrians are hit by vehicles in the United States every year?
Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable users on the road. Being hit by a vehicle can be a traumatic and life-changing experience. In such situations, it is important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities.
This guide will provide you with the necessary information to protect yourself. It will also let you know what steps to take if you are a pedestrian struck by a vehicle.
Legal Responsibilities of Pedestrians
As a pedestrian, you have certain responsibilities when it comes to sharing the road with vehicles. These include:
Obeying Traffic Signals and Signs
As a pedestrian, you’re required to follow the same traffic signals and signs as vehicles. This includes stopping at red lights, using crosswalks when available, and obeying stop signs.
Disregarding these signals and signs can result in accidents and legal consequences. Make sure to always follow traffic rules when walking on the road.
Walking on Designated Walkways
If there are sidewalks or other designated walkways available, pedestrians must use them. This ensures the safety of both the pedestrian and the driver.
If there are no sidewalks available, pedestrians should walk facing traffic so they can see approaching vehicles. This also makes it easier for drivers to see the pedestrian.
Pedestrians should make themselves visible to drivers at all times. This includes wearing bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night or in low visibility conditions.
It is also important to avoid walking while distracted by electronic devices. This can make it difficult for drivers to see you and can increase the risk of accidents. Make sure to always be aware of your surroundings while walking on the road.
Crosswalks are designated areas for pedestrians to safely cross the road. As a pedestrian, you’re required to use them when available. If there is no crosswalk within 300 feet, then pedestrians must yield to vehicles and only cross when it’s safe to do so.
It is important to always look both ways before crossing the road. Make sure that approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop before stepping onto the crosswalk.
Legal Rights of Pedestrians Struck by a Vehicle
If you’ve been hit by a vehicle while walking, you have legal rights that protect you. These include:
Right to Seek Compensation for Damages
If the accident was caused by the negligence of the driver, you have the right to seek compensation. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
It’s important to consult with a car accident lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process. They can also ensure that you receive fair compensation.
Right to File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the driver. You can pursue damages for injuries and losses through civil court.
It’s important to have a good understanding of the legal system and how it works. This will help you successfully file a lawsuit.
A can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the process. They can also help you gather evidence and build a strong case.
Right to a Fair Investigation
As a pedestrian, you have the right to a fair and thorough investigation into the incident. This includes a detailed examination of the accident scene. This also includes witness statements and the driver’s account.
The investigation will help to establish the facts. It will determine the at-fault party and assist in claims or lawsuits. Make sure to cooperate with law enforcement officials and provide them with any necessary information.
Right to Privacy
In the aftermath of an accident, you have the right to privacy. Your personal and medical information should be kept confidential.
They can only shared with necessary parties. This includes your legal counsel, medical professionals, and insurance company.
Right to Reject Initial Settlement Offers
Often, insurance companies may quickly offer a settlement to resolve the claim. However, you have the right to reject initial offers if they do not fully compensate your damages.
It’s recommended to consult with a personal injury lawyer. This is to ensure you understand the full value of your claim before accepting any settlement. They can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Right to No-fault Benefits
Some states operate under a no-fault system. You may be entitled to certain benefits from your own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. These benefits could cover medical expenses, lost income, and other costs related to the accident.
However, the specifics can vary by state. It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand your options. They can also handle the communication with your insurance company, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
What to Do After Being Struck by a Vehicle as a Pedestrian
In a pedestrian accident, it’s important to act quickly and take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights. Here is a general guide on what to do after being struck by a vehicle:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are not severe, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately. This ensures your health and safety. It also provides valuable medical documentation that can be instrumental in your personal injury claim.
Report the Accident
Always report the incident to law enforcement as soon as possible. This will provide an official record of the incident. It will also allow for a thorough investigation.
If it’s safe to do so, gather evidence from the scene. This includes taking photos of the accident. You should also get contact information from witnesses and obtain the driver’s insurance information.
Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. They can advise you on your legal rights and help you navigate the process of seeking compensation.
Understanding the Legalities of a Pedestrian Struck by a Vehicle
Being a pedestrian struck by a vehicle can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. However, understanding your legal rights and responsibilities can help you protect yourself and seek the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in such an accident, make sure to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process. Remember to always prioritize your safety while walking on the road, and be aware of your surroundings to avoid accidents.
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